This article is part of Football Fancast’s Loan Watch series, which takes a closer look at those players who are aiming to galvanise their careers away from the spotlight of their parent club.
Everton’s Jonjoe Kenny made the bold decision this summer to move to Schalke, and so far it appears to be paying off.
The 22-year-old broke into the Everton side under Sam Allardyce, making 19 Premier League appearances in 2017/18, and showed early signs of promise with two assists.
He saw his role reduced under Marco Silva with only eight league starts in the last campaign, but if he makes a good impression playing abroad then there could be a place for him upon his return, as Everton only have one senior right-back contracted beyond June 2020.
So far, it has been a learning curve for the Liverpudlian, who admitted as much himself after he conceded a penalty in Schalke’s 3-0 defeat to champions Bayern Munich.
However, of the three league games he has played those are the only goals he has conceded, and two clean sheets should fill him and the rest of the defence with confidence.
For a young player making a transition to his first experience playing abroad, Kenny could be forgiven for taking a while to adjust, but he has slotted in with apparent ease.
He is very inexperienced compared to the rest of the Schalke backline but judging from the statistics he has not let down manager David Wagner, and even scored an incredible goal last weekend in a 3-0 demolition of Hertha Berlin.
Kenny has shown tenacity so far. An opening day visit to one of the best home teams in the Bundesliga last year – Borussia Monchengladbach – could have overawed him, but instead he helped his team keep a clean sheet and played his natural game with two tackles and a key pass.
Compared to his defensive teammates this season, he has averaged the third-highest amount of clearances and his average of 2.3 tackles per game shows he hasn’t been hesitant to get stuck-in, although it is an area which he will likely feel he can still perform better in.
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Other areas of his game in need of improvement are in his work with the ball. 0.7 successful dribbles per game is not enough for a player who will need to show attacking intent in a Schalke side aiming for the European places, whilst a rate of 0.3 interceptions per game suggests he is not yet up to speed.
Despite that, there are some early positives, and if he can continue to learn from a successful manager in Wagner then he should come back to Goodison Park with a realistic aim of playing regularly in the first-team.